Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?

Started Sep 15, 2013 | Discussions
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inasir1971
inasir1971 Senior Member • Posts: 3,462
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?

Stilograph wrote:

Hello to all.

I'm considering purchasing this fine lens, but was wondering if you good folks have any experiences on using it for portraits wide open? I've red it's semi-useless because of the lack of contrast at 1.2, but would like to stand corrected. Any samples or such? Horrible user experiences?

Regards

Heikki

I've had mine for about a year (bought new from dealer).

A couple of things you should know about it before you get one:

* aperture control is only through the aperture ring which only allows setting full stops apart from 1.2 - that is 1.2, 1.4, 2, 2.8 etc.

* as a non-CPU lens there is no way (currently) to influence when the AF indicators show through AF fine tune on bodies with that function (current firmware does not allow an adjustment of the default fine tune for non-CPU lenses)

* it has straight aperture blades (most modern lenses use rounded ones) so apart from f/1.2 (and possibly f/1.4) out of focus highlights are polygonal (rather than circular)

I much prefer using it through a Metabones Speedbooster on my Fuji X-E1 (which has EVF and focus peaking) over use on my Nikon bodies.

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sgoldswo
sgoldswo Senior Member • Posts: 5,612
Very positive, amongst my favourite lenses
1

Stilograph wrote:

Hello to all.

I'm considering purchasing this fine lens, but was wondering if you good folks have any experiences on using it for portraits wide open? I've red it's semi-useless because of the lack of contrast at 1.2, but would like to stand corrected. Any samples or such? Horrible user experiences?

Regards

Heikki

One of my favourite nikon lenses by far. A really lovely render which is hard to find in modern lenses, results just pop between F2.8 and F5.6. The real problem wide open is the extremely thin DOF, but it is a bit soft and dreamy too, though as you'll see below, this can give you some memorable images.

Here's some examples with this lens:

About F2.8-4

F4

F1.2 or F2

F1.2

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kiirokurisu Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?

heulwen wrote:

This is not a lens you just strap on the camera and right away get great pictures with. It takes practice. But when you do find that tune, this lens truly sings. Yes.

Thanks for your wonderful post - that photograph is a perfect example. It really is true that this lens has a je ne sais quoi and a uniqueness about it. People tend to either love it or hate it. Me, I love it.

KenHill Junior Member • Posts: 47
Re: Very positive, amongst my favourite lenses
1

I have used a 1.2 for a long time and just recently got a newer one.  What hasn't been said was the natural and accurate colors it gives you wide open at lower ISO's for street and landscape use at twilight/dusk.  I don't think there is another lens that can touch it.

Here's a shot I took several weeks ago to make the point.  WYSIWYG

Twilight in the rain

Jonathan Siegel Regular Member • Posts: 489
Re: Very positive, amongst my favourite lenses
2

I've been primarily shooting with this lens and the 85mm 1.4 for the last few years on my D700. It's the best 50mm I know of at the moment, and I almost always shoot with it wide open. It has a very particular characteristic, which really sets it apart from other 50mm lenses. It's best used at night, which is what the f1.2 was intended for, but I find it also fantastic for food photography, and of course landscapes if you feel like stopping it down. Here are some examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9436044472/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9431220829/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9020653787/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9057300239/

and when I used to shoot with it on my old D300, this is what it looks like:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/4565322569/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/4776860685/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/4466631427/

I highly recommend this lens, my sadly got smashed in an accident last week, but I intend to buy another one when I get a chance soon.

CFynn Veteran Member • Posts: 5,224
Re: Very positive, amongst my favourite lenses

Jonathan Siegel wrote:

I've been primarily shooting with this lens and the 85mm 1.4 for the last few years on my D700. It's the best 50mm I know of at the moment, and I almost always shoot with it wide open. It has a very particular characteristic, which really sets it apart from other 50mm lenses. It's best used at night, which is what the f1.2 was intended for, but I find it also fantastic for food photography, and of course landscapes if you feel like stopping it down. Here are some examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9436044472/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9431220829/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9020653787/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9057300239/

The D700 may be the best match for this lens.

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windsprite
windsprite Senior Member • Posts: 2,315
Re: Very positive, amongst my favourite lenses

Jonathan Siegel wrote:

I've been primarily shooting with this lens and the 85mm 1.4 for the last few years on my D700. It's the best 50mm I know of at the moment, and I almost always shoot with it wide open. It has a very particular characteristic, which really sets it apart from other 50mm lenses. It's best used at night, which is what the f1.2 was intended for, but I find it also fantastic for food photography, and of course landscapes if you feel like stopping it down. Here are some examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9436044472/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9431220829/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9020653787/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9057300239/

I love your photos and your style.

Funnily, these images illustrate exactly what it is I don't like about the f1.2's out of focus areas.    Realizing that it's an individual preference thing, I just don't care for the bokeh on your cake photo.  I think it works really well for your more edgy street-shooting style, though.

Julie

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(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 578
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?
1

I bought a used Nikon 50mm f/1.2 with a 40xx serial number last year, it was soft and had low contrast wide open, stopped down to f/2 and it was fine but no better than my 50mm f/1.4G, the out of focus rendering was also horrible, so I sold it.

Last month I bought a new copy of the 50mm f/1.2 serial 41xx and its very sharp with open with much better contrast and out of focus rendering and completely usable, razor sharp by f/2 over most of the frame and the best lens I have ever used by f/4.

I used it on both my D600 and D800E and focus by using the confirmation build in to the cameras, focus confirmation is almost 100% when using the lens on the D800E but a little hit & miss on the D600 however the lens just seems to shine on the D600.

It's a great lens and maybe I just got lucky with my copy but I shoot it wide open quite often and the results are excellent.

BasiliskPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,000
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?
2

TWHook wrote:

Handheld at 2.0 1/400 iso 200 nikon d700

The perfect dog for wide apertures. I have whippets, and their nose is so far from their eyes you need f8 to get the whole face in focus!

Very cute by the way - is it a Boston Terrier?

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,441
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?
Last month I bought a new copy of the 50mm f/1.2 serial 41xx and its very sharp with open with much better contrast and out of focus rendering and completely usable, razor sharp by f/2 over most of the frame and the best lens I have ever used by f/4.

I will check this...

TWHook Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?
1

BasiliskPhoto wrote:

TWHook wrote:

Handheld at 2.0 1/400 iso 200 nikon d700

The perfect dog for wide apertures. I have whippets, and their nose is so far from their eyes you need f8 to get the whole face in focus!

Very cute by the way - is it a Boston Terrier?

Thanks, you're right. With the sheer plane of focus of the 50 1.2 AT 2.0, focus is is better served with a dog with a pushed in nose than one with a prominent proboscis!

For the sake of due diligence, our dog is a French Bulldog puppy (about five months).

Lee CK New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?
1

This is undoubtedly one of the best 50mm you could get in the market now. The only concern you should have is the shallow dof when wide open, but nonetheless it's still good for artistic shots.

These are the shots taken at f/1.2:

Besides its exceptional optical performance, the other thing I like about this lens is the size and weight of the lens. It's so small, it's so light, and it's so convenient to bring around. I have never missed this lens on any of my shooting occasions.

Being said that, I have mounted this lens on both DX and FX cameras, and I find it bit difficult to use it on DX. It tends to get a bit "shaky", and you will have to increase you shutter speed in order to get a perfect shot.

In short, you can't really go wrong with lens, moreover, I would say the value of this lens will not drop, even if it does, will not drop by much. Go get it!

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ruifonikon
ruifonikon Senior Member • Posts: 1,402
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?

Agreed. It's one of the best artistic lenses ever, at f/1.2. Just love it.

Here some sample shots: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruimc/sets/72157648836549609/

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YRUNVS
YRUNVS Regular Member • Posts: 495
Re: Nikon 50mm f1.2 user experiences?
1

I have had this lens for a bit under a year, and I have been pleased by it's performance. I knew at F2 and smaller apertures it is amongst the sharpest nikon mount lenses, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the performance at 1.2 and 1.4. I stop down to 1.4 more often because I want more DoF than because I believe the photo would benefit from additional sharpness.

I am sure there are sharper options available at 1.4, I am not claiming it is setting records at that aperture, but only that it surpasses my level of sufficiency.

Edit:  I should note I am using a AI version of the lens, I believe the AIS version has more aperture blades which would make the bokeh a bit smoother, particularly where there are point light sources in the OOF area.

Photos with Exif (and higher resolution) available here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/diallo_jamal/sets/72157646962848891

Stopped down to 2.0

Wide open at 1.2

Wide open at 1.2

Wide open at 1.2

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paultr Regular Member • Posts: 353
Re: Very positive, amongst my favourite lenses

windsprite wrote:

Jonathan Siegel wrote:

I've been primarily shooting with this lens and the 85mm 1.4 for the last few years on my D700. It's the best 50mm I know of at the moment, and I almost always shoot with it wide open. It has a very particular characteristic, which really sets it apart from other 50mm lenses. It's best used at night, which is what the f1.2 was intended for, but I find it also fantastic for food photography, and of course landscapes if you feel like stopping it down. Here are some examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9436044472/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9431220829/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9020653787/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsiegel/9057300239/

I love your photos and your style.

Funnily, these images illustrate exactly what it is I don't like about the f1.2's out of focus areas. Realizing that it's an individual preference thing, I just don't care for the bokeh on your cake photo. I think it works really well for your more edgy street-shooting style, though.

Julie

+ 1

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